A Devotion for 15 March 2019 Anno Domini (the Ides of March
The Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
(Genesis 3:1-5; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The old Red Dragon of Heaven, and the serpent of the Garden are one and the same creature. I say creature because he was created by God in the dawn of Creation – not as a devil, but as a covering Cherub. He was created perfect, as was Adam, in his ways; and just as Adam fell from grace, so did Lucifer (light bearer). “12 . . . . Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.” (Ezekiel 28:12-19)
Satan is subtle, charming, evil, deceitful, beguiling (a seducer) and vicious to his victims. There are a thousand other unflattering terms we could ascribe to this Villain of the Garden but suffice it to keep our subject simple for the sake of brevity.
His approach to every person is adapted to their weaknesses (known by Satan through long observation). He knows our strengths (which he avoids), but he appeals to our weaknesses and at times most advantageous for his purposes. He has a brilliant intelligence exceeding that of mortal man. We are no match for Satan in his cunning intrigues. He watches us intently as a lion couching beneath the underbrush of the trail and, as we approach nearby, he leaps with a roar and tears us joint from joint – too late to take evasive measures. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8-9) Satan is the Prince of the Air and Keeper of the Dark Chambers.
The Great Red Dragon of Revelations (chap 12) is the same Serpent of Eden. He is not only the essence of evil, but he is also enraged in his fate as an outcast of God and seeks to destroy all that God has made – especially mankind! So his war against the crowning achievement of God’s Creation in Eden is relentless and fueled by hate, envy and malice. From the beginning, he has been the Accuser of God’s people. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7And the LORDsaid unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” (Job 1:6-12)
Thankfully, we have, not only an Accuser against us with the Father, but an ADVOCATE who is for us in Christ Jesus – the whole WORD of God. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2) Would you like to learn a very encouraging truth? When you appear before the White Throne of God, your Accuser will not be there, but your Advocate WILL be. How is that possible you may ask? Look at the timeline of last events in Revelations, chapter 20: “And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:8-10)
Notice this event precedes the White Throne Judgment in the very next sequel of events: “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15) I am certain that no charge will be levied against the Chosen of Christ without the Accuser lodging accusations against us. But our Advocate, Redeemer, Savior and Lord will be there to welcome us into the Kingdom prepared for us from the beginning of the world.
We know something of the modus operandi of Satan. Look at his tact with Eve in the Garden at Eden. No one knows how many days or years the Serpent waited by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil for Eve to chance that way. But she did, in an unguarded moment perhaps approach the Tree. It may be the case that Adam and Eve had both passed by that Tree in days past; but Satan prefers, as a lion, to catch his victims while they are alone as was Eve that fateful moment. Eve was alone and without the sure knowledge and support of Adam. “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1)
Notice that Satan generally opens with a question. He does so today in questioning the validity of the traditional Bible text, the dignity of biblical marriage, and the value of human life from conception to infirmity of years. He asks, “Is the biblical model of marriage valid ‘for our time’?” “Does the admonition against homosexual marriage apply to the modern age?” “How could God restrict a woman’s freedom to choose what she does with her own body?” Of course, he does not raise the issue of the baby’s right to the use of its body that is at stake here, or the sin that led to the unplanned pregnancy. The question of right and wrong is always slanted in his asking. “Hath God said?” The question, too, includes a twisted lie in it: “Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan knew EXACTLY what God had said, but he twists the question to include – not just the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – but of all of the (every) trees in the Garden. This is designed to throw his victim off balance.
Eve was not as prepared for this question as Adam would have been since it was to Adam alone that God had given the command: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17) Adam would have been responsible for passing this prohibition on to Eve which he apparently did, for Eve answered almost rightly with a major exception: “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” (Genesis 3:2-3) Unless I misread my Bible, God had TWO trees in the midst of the Garden – one of which was the Tree of Life from which they could have eaten. (representing our Lord Jesus Christ). “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9)
We see that Satan began with a doubtful question, and finally openly refutes the Word of God – much like the modern textual critics who question every word and believe they can change it in new versions. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5) He not only refutes God’s Word but appeals to Eve’s pride and vanity. He does the same today. If a preacher of a mainline church wants to gain favor among his denomination’s leadership, he had better accept their phony bible version as well.
Today we have many apostles of Satan preaching in pulpits around the world. They are smooth talkers and quick-change artists. They are apostles of deceit. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) Believe me, Satan knows God’s Word and he knows how to twist its meaning, as many modern evangelist do, and use it against us. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
The whole armor of god is a sure knowledge and application of His Word in our lives.